Who manages a colla?

So, up to this point, we have a bunch of people climbing up the shoulders of other people, to the point that a child climbs up all this bunch of people and raises his hand.

That’s really impressive, and beautiful. And all the people who sees castells for the first time gets shocked. Really. If you come to Barcelona for La Mercè’s fiestas (the week following september 24, they raise castells on Sunday) the only thing you will hear on Sunday at Plaça Sant Jaume will be Japanese girls’ yellings. And I guess you might know how acute they can be.

Castellers de Barcelona performing a 4d9f in Plaça Sant Jaume, Barcelona,  for La Mercè fiestas
Castellers de Barcelona performing a 4d9f in Plaça Sant Jaume, Barcelona, for La Mercè fiestas

Anyway, it’s obvious that this mass of people needs someone who manages them. In the sense that they need somebody outside the castell, telling them how they are climbing, who has to climb and when, if the castell is stable or not, to give them support… and much more!

The Cap de Colla is the person who manages a colla. Is the man or woman who takes the decision about what castell is going to be build at the square, and he or she takes care of the colla’s rehearsals.

Usually, the Cap de Colla is usually elected democratically by the members of the colla, and the mandate of a cap de colla may vary, as each colla has their own rules, although the mandate tends to be for a year.

Nevertheless, the Cap de Colla manages the technical part of the colla, this is, the “castell-building” part. But the colla, I told you before in another post, is something more, as the social part is equally or even more important than the “fer castells”.

Joan Julivert i Nin, Cap de colla of the Nens del Vendrell (1944-1972)
Joan Julivert i Nin, Cap de colla of the Nens del Vendrell (1944-1972)

For this, there is a President, a Chairman, of the Castellers, as a whole association. The Chairman is the one in charge of the rest in the colla: he manages the board – yes there is a board, with several committees or commission – and he is the one who signs the agreements with other entities, approves and execute strategies to improve the conditions of the colla and he is behind all the social environment of the colla: from a dinner to a party to a campaign to increase membership.

Between the Cap de Colla and the Chairman, they manage the calendar of shows for the season with the other colles. The Chairman and his board take care of all the logistics for the show (transportation, food, others) and the cap de colla takes care of the show itself (castells to do, on which round make them, who shall go in every position…).

Furthermore, and joining the Cap de Colla, there is a technical committee, which is formed by a Cap de Pinya, who manages the pinya; a Cap de Tronc, who manages the tronc; and a Cap de Canalla, who is in the halfway between the technical and the social staff.

The Cap de Canalla manages the children, and it’s obvious that children need special incentives to climb up to the top of a castell, beginning by the sense of being belong in the colla. So the Cap de Canalla has this triple task: on one side has to teach kids how to climb up, secondly has to decide which children will climb up on every castell, and thirdly, has to organise activities for them, like camps, games, songs, and so on… Actually, like the teachers and other people who takes care of children, Caps de Canalla deserve all my admiration.

Some colles even have a Cap de Soca – the soca is the part of the pinya that would be inside and even sometimes includes the people

One day I will talk in a deeper way of the duties of each person.

And with this post, I hope you had a great Christmas!

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